Why I Do Full Body Workouts + Frequency Of Training
I've been getting A LOT of questions about full body workouts vs. splits and WHY I work out the way I do. So.....what's up with my full body workouts?!
WHY I DO FULL BODY WORKOUTS
FULL BODY vs. BODY PART SPLITS
First of all, in case you were unsure...a full body workout is when you exercise your entire body with all muscles being stimulated in one workout. A split routine (aka training split, or body part split) has been popularized by the bodybuilding community. You separate your muscle groups, or movement patterns on different days...like legs & back, chest & arms, etc. This is a style I tend to shy away from, but that doesn't mean I don't have tactics for targeting specific muscle groups for various goals.
Before I get into why I PERSONALLY prefer this method of training, I'm going to throw this over to the Mind Pump guys because I love their way of communicating this. Expand your mind and get ready for some knowledge bombs.
1) It's time efficient. When I think about body part splits..the phrase "ain't nobody got time for dat shit!" comes to mind. The first reason I do full body vs. splits is simply because it's more efficient when it comes to time for my goals and my schedule. I get more bang for my buck in a lifting session than I would just focusing on 1 or 2 body parts. I train my full body 2-3 days a week (if I'm being honest....3 is a good week). But I'm EFFICIENT with my time in the gym and I focus on compound movement. You can get A LOT done in the gym in an hour or less and if you're smart about your programming and focus on the big lifts. If I'm short on time, I always stick to multi-joint movements like squats, deadlifts, overhead pressing, bench pressing, pull-ups, and rows. The more joints you use in one movement, the more muscles it's utilizing. You really can't go wrong with incorporating these movements into your fundamental routine.
2) I've gotten quicker results from hitting my muscles groups multiple times in a week. The reason I can speak on this is because I've trained both ways. I've done the body part split and it took me a lot longer to start seeing changes in my body. Now, I understand that every body responds differently to stimulus...But if there was a week I couldn't make it to the gym 4 or 5 days to hit all my body parts, something was neglected. With full body, I know that even if I only make it in twice that week, I hit every muscle group. If you do the math, you actually do way more sets at the end of the week than you would do if you hammer on 1 muscle group once a week. Our bodies do well with frequency - instead of taxing those muscles out in one session, you can spread it out over the course of the week and watch the magic happen.
3) You get more PRACTICE at the big lifts. Practice makes perfect. Let's say I do squats twice a week and deadlifts twice a week. You bet your booty I'm going to get really good at those lifts! Versus on a split, maybe you squat once a week and deadlift once a week (on leg day, of course). For me, every day is leg day!
4) It's fun and feels more natural to me. Full-body workouts keep me on my toes and when I do them, I don't just feel like a machine. If you think about it, the human body is meant to work all together and everything at once. I picture our primitive ancestors squatting boulders and pulling themselves up trees the same day as they crawl, run, and jump. It just makes sense. I got really bored with splits because doing 10 different glute exercises and 6 different arm exercises in one workout is totally lame for me.
TRAINING FREQUENCY + "TRIGGER SESSIONS"
Now you might be thinking..."BUT T....I REALLY WANT BOULDER SHOULDERS! or....I WANT A HUGE BOOTY! or maybe even..."I WANT NICE WIDE, DEVELOPED LATS!" (if this is you, you're speaking my language!)
"What do I do?!?!"
I'm so glad you asked! ...Enter...
TRIGGER SESSIONS! If you're a client of mine, this concept is nothing new.
This is a trick that I learned from the Mind Pump guys in the video above. The name is coined by them and they developed the technique. Like I said, they're an outstanding resource for fitness information and you should subscribe to their YouTube channel asap if you like to geek out over fitness. Not only have I seen more progress from this technique than ever before, but so have my clients. It's a game changer and all it takes is some mindfulness throughout your day and a little ol' resistance band.
First of all, full body workouts are going to help develop just that. Your full body. However, there's a way to train specific body parts if you want a little extra help to those lagging ones that just don't seem to build no matter how hard you try!
I got you.
The good news, my friends, is that our bodies respond very well to frequency! Mind you, you have to be careful of INTENSITY...and there's a difference here. Intensity is where your 2-3 times a week full body workouts come to play.
For example, let's say you do full body workouts 3 days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Sweet. Get after it. However, what you do on your rest days is just as important as what you do in the gym. If you want to build your booty and your shoulders, take that resistance band and choose 3-5 glute and shoulder exercises 1-3 times per day. Focus on slow, controlled movement and core connection. The idea is that you want to send a muscle building signal to your muscles the day after your full-body workout. Yes, you're changing the stimulus and muscle adaptation response, but it's going to keep that fire roaring. Now you understand why it's called a "trigger" session because it's triggering that signal and growth. This should only take about 10 minutes to accomplish. I know 3 times per day (ideal but not required, 1 time will do) seems like a lot, but luckily resistance bands are light and portable, so you can take it where ever with you. After a few weeks, I would switch up the body part focus and exercises.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
If you have any postural deviations like forward shoulder, this technique could also be used as a means of corrective exercise. Just choose exercises that work your upper back and practice performing the reps with perfect posture (chin on a shelf, ribs drawn down, shoulders down and back, pelvis in neutral). Any style of row could work for this.